Where to Turn When Times Get Hard
The other day I was listening to the news and it was all about the doom and gloom of the housing crisis and property prices. Australia has an awful lot of land per capita, so it made me wonder why it is so expensive to buy some?
I then remembered my dad telling me a long time ago that God set up the laws in the Old Testament to teach the Israelites that they didn’t really own the land, but were rather stewards of it. They were meant to cultivate it, work it, and do something productive with it. During the year of the Jubilee (every 50 years), all debts were forgiven, and the land was given back to the original owners.
The principle still applies today.
God owns everything, and we are His stewards. This was Jesus’ point in the parable of the talents which we find in Matthew 25. This parable reminds us that what really matters is not how much we have, but what we are doing with what we have.
This principle extends right back to the very beginning, when God told Adam and Eve to work ‘His’ garden. We read in Genesis 1:28: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”
It sure is radically different to the greed and materialism that pervades our Western culture, isn’t it?
So what do we do with this? What’s the take-away message? How do we glorify God in this? Where is the gospel in this and how do we apply it to our lives?
I want to answer these questions at three levels:
- At a personal level, whether we have 10 talents, 5 or 1, it doesn’t matter, the point is that we all do our best with what God has given us.
- At a public level, we can make the most of opportunities God gives us to subtly point others to Christ and the gospel. It may look something like making a little joke by saying ‘I wish the year of Jubilee was coming up soon!’ when the lunchroom discussion on housing prices crops up. Or it may even be as simple as remaining hopeful and joyful in the midst of economic pressure.
- At a family level, like my father taught me in the story above, we need to lay up treasures in heaven (the unsearchable riches of Christ) rather than treasures on earth. (Eph 3:8; Matt 6:19-20).